Posts Tagged With: 91

Nicoya Fuerte Robusto

In January I wrote a review about a new brand, Nicoya, and I smoked the Nicoya Medio, the milder of the two lines that the Australian entrepreneur and cigar aficionado Gerard Hayes has made by A.J. Fernandez in the Fernandez factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. As for the name, as I wrote back in January, according to Hayes the name is chosen to praise the Nicaraguans yet there are others that claim that Nicaraguans aren’t called Nicoya but it’s a piece of Costa Rica that used to be Nicaraguan. As I said back then, I’m not an expert and not knowledgable enough to pick sides so I’m just gonna leave it there.


The Nicoya Fuerte only comes in one size 5×52 that Hayes picked because its the most popular size when it comes to sales and it can be smoked is a reasonable time. The filler is all Nicaraguan while the binder and wrapper are Ecuadorean habano, or Sun Grown as we call that in Europe since the Cubans were able toe trademark “habano” and “cuba” even though international laws clearly state you can’t trademark a country. As I take the cigar out of the cellophane I smell a very strong barnyard aroma with some ammonia. The wrapper, that is dark like dark oak feels very silky. The construction feels good with a beautifully rounded single cap. The ring is amazing, very simple, 2 smaller and one bigger purple circle with a white N in the middle circle and white lions in the smaller circles and white lettering Nicoya Cigars Esteli Nicaragua on the silver borders. The back of the ring are wing shaped and thats a nice detail.


I punched the cigar, the ring gauge is 52 so big enough to punch. The cold draw is surprisingly easy and has a little raisin and a lot of pepper. After I used my trusted Ronson to light the cigar I taste a strong coffee with pepper. After a centimeter I taste coffee, less strong as in the beginning, with some leather, spice and a little citrus. After an inch I also taste cocoa and the pepper is back full force. The citrus gained more strength. Halfway it’s leather, cedar, pepper and now a mild citrus mix of flavors. Soon after I taste dark chocolate, like the 72% dark chocolate and the pepper is habanero. Every now and then I also taste hints of vanilla. The finish is a solid coffee again, more towards espresso to be precise.


The smoke is amazing, so thick, so full and so much, the maximum amount of points there and my air cleaner is working overtime. The draw is great, just a tiny bit loose. The ash is light gray and firm, it’s dense too. The burn is good, not perfect but also not touch ups needed. This cigar is full bodied, no question about that, and full flavored. The flavors also linger around for a long time. The smoke time is a solid hour and a half.


Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, although the Nicoya Medios is a bit more balanced. This is an after barbecue cigar.

Score: 91

91

Categories: 91, Nicaraguan cigars, Nicoya, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Casa Magna Colorado Lancero

Let me start by saying that even though this cigar will count as my lancero review of the month and will be a contestant in the ‘lancero of the year’ list that I will compile at the end of the year, officialy this is not a lancero. It’s called a lancero, it looks like a lancero, and it comes close to a lancero but the size is not a classic lancero size with a length that is an inch longer and a ring gauge that’s also slightly thicker than what’s considered industry standard for a lancero (7 1/2×38 vs 8 1/2×40 for this Casa Magna Lancero). It’s actually an old size used by Manolo Quesada and back then the name was ‘largo delgado’ which translates to “long skinny”. I still count it as a lancero because the size differences are only minor unlike the Alec Bradley (‘everything is bigger in’) Texas Lancero (7×70).


Casa Magna is a cooperation between the Quesada family, who are well known and respected cigar makers from the Dominican Republic and the Plasencia family from Nicaragua. That Manuel Quesada got the Cigar Journal Lifetime Achievement award last september at the award dinner at Intertabac is a testament to their accomplishments and knowledge. In 2008 they shook the world by becoming the no.1 on Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25 with this blend and that for a cigar that would usually be featured on the yearly ’top budget cigars’. This all Nicaraguan blend hit the right spot and became an international hit, with offsprings as the Casa Magna Oscuro (from Honduras), Casa Magna Domus Magnus series and most recently a Dominican made Casa Magna. The Casa Magna Lancero was released in 2011 but with a MSRP that was much higher than the other Casa Magna vitola’s at $12.95 and came in boxes of 7 to keep the box price below $100. I reviewed the cigar back in 2011, when it wasn’t for sale in The Netherlands and with my old scores in my old apartment, time for a new try, this time in my man cave, with my 100 point scoring system and cigars legally bought in The Netherlands where they were for sale for a limited time.


The cigar looks great, a nice dark and oily wrapper with a few minor veins, a closed foot and a lovely little pigtail. A well printed ring with quite some details on thick paper. If you scan the ring it looks simple but when you pay more attention you notice all small details and since I started paying more attention to the cigar rings I seem to enjoy the cigars a little more, maybe because of the appreciation of the pieces of art that cigar rings can be. The aroma is amazing, its like walking deep inside a forest in the fall with the smell of fermenting leafs, moss, animals and the aroma is quite strong. Construction wise I don’t have any complaints either, the cigar seems evenly filled and since a lancero is one of the harder vitolas to roll I take my hat off to the roller responsible.


The cigar is too thin to punch so I cut the cigar with my Xikar butterfly cutter. The cold draw is a little tough with a little bit of wood and quite some pepper. I used my soft flame to light the cigar. Right from the start I taste coffee with some salt and plenty of pepper. After a few puffs I also taste a little honey sweetness. The coffee goes away, I now taste earthy flavors and some chocolate with chilies. The flavors are very vibrant as you can expect from a cigar with a great filler wrapper ratio as a lancero. Just like the aroma, the flavors remind me of autumn.

After a third I still taste the earthy flavors with pepper but now with something I would describe as autumn leafs. I also taste some salt and a little licorice. The pepper gets stronger and is now the main flavor. On the background I also taste some vanilla. Slowly I also taste a nice wood flavor, oak. Some puffs later I also taste some citrus. The pepper is still the main flavor though, strong and powerful.


The draw is great, better than in the cold draw and since the lancero is so difficult to make again my hat off to the roller. The smoke is white, relatively thick and a decent amount of it. The ash is salt and pepper colored, a bit frayed too. The burn is quite good, not razor sharp, but still good. The cigar is full bodied, full flavored. I really enjoyed this cigar for almost 2 hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Once I’m out I’ll try to find another box, I still have a full one though.

Score: 91

91

Categories: 91, Casa Magna, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Oliva serie V Maduro Short Robusto Edición Europa 2010

In 2006 the Nicaraguan cigar producing and tobacco growing family of Oliva and their Oliva Cigar Company, not to be mistaken by the Oliva Tobacco Company who are also tobacco growers but not related, released their strongest cigar to their portfolio, the Oliva Series V and with succes, the torpedo made it into the top 25 of Cigar Aficionado the next year and the blend has been voted in that top 25 for 6 years in a row, an industry record. In 2008 Oliva released a limited edition maduro version of the Series V in a torpedo shape and a Broadleaf wrapper and repeated that in 2009 with a different wrapper, Nicaraguan Habano Maduro this time. In 2010 they changed the size to a 6×54 with yet another another wrapper, Mexican San Andres Maduro and they not only released a limited edition for the USA but also a different size just for the European Market. For Europe they picked a 4 1/2×50 Short Robusto, 1500 boxes of 10 cigars were made. I really loved the 2008 release but wasn’t impressed with the later releases until I smoked this one.


Now this review is not the only one this cigar. I gave a few to Brooks from Halfwheel.com a few years back and he posted a review. The prices mentioned on Halfwheel come from U.K. based websites and the U.K. has crazy taxes. In The Netherlands the cigar had a fixed price tag of €8,50. The cigar has been aging for a minimum of 6 years so the cellophane is discolored from the inside. The band is the normal Oliva serie V band, big, beautiful and printed in my home country of The Netherlands at Vrijdag Printing. The wrapper is dark, toothy, rough and leathery with some veins and it feels leathery. It is not a good looking wrapper when you base it on esthetics but it’s beautifully intimidating. The construction feels good. After a punch I had a tight draw so I made a cut with my xikar butterfly cutter and then the mild spicy cold draw was good. The aroma is thick, rich and deep, reminds me of a horse stable.


I managed to lit the cigar with the last remaining gas in my vintage Ronson and straight away I taste espresso with a lot of cane sugar, it’s like Cuban coffee. After a centimeter the espresso becomes a little milder and the sweetness also toned down a little. The flavors are getting a little toasty though.


Halfway I still taste sweetness but now with more earthy flavors and a little bit of pepper. This Maduro wrapper surely lives up to the ‘Maduro is sweeter’ people always say but it’s not overpowering. After two thirds I get more of a woody flavor with some pepper and the sweetness, which now reminds me of honey.


The smoke from this small cigar is medium thick, not as thick as I like and not as much as I like either so there go some points. The ash on the other hand is amazing, white and very dense. The burn is a little bit off but not enough to correct. The draw is great, but I always expect good draw from Oliva. This cigar is medium plus bodied and medium to full flavored. The smoke time of this enjoyable cigar is close to 90 minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? They are nowhere to be found, its been over 6 years since they were released but I’m glad I bought all the boxes I could find.

Score: 91

91

Categories: 91, Nicaraguan cigars, Oliva, Tabacalera Oliva | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Davidoff Colorado Claro Aniversario #3

In my walk-in humidor I like to keep every cigar in the box it came in but in reality that’s impossible due to a few reasons including the space that I would need and because I have lots of single sticks that I either bought as a single, traded or got gifted without the box. So those cigars are in a few ‘miscellaneous’ boxes and today I grabbed a cigar from one of those boxes with my eyes closed. Turned out I grabbed the 6×50 Davidoff Colorado Claro Aniversario #3.


To be honest, Davidoff never really was one of my favorites, most of them are too mild and plain boring to my palate and way to expensive when you compare value for money. Yes, I did enjoy the Millennium Blend Lancero a lot but all the regular stuff isn’t my cup of tea but since they woke up and revamped the brand with the Nicaragua, Escurio and Yamasa the brand came back on my radar. I really liked the Nicaragua, the Escurio was good too and I have yet to try the Yamasa. I still think that they overcharge though but maybe i’m just cheap. Now back to this Davidoff Colorado Claro, it didn’t ring a bell so I went to the Davidoff website but no mention of the Colorado Claro at all. Time for a google search and I found a little bit of information. It turns out that the Colorado Claro is a rare sight, a small batch production with a sun grown Ecuadorean Colorado wrapper and Dominican filler and binder. The cigar has a feisty price tag of more than 20 USD and therefor confirms my prejudice on the price point of Davidoff cigars. Lucky for Davidoff I don’t score on value for money.


The reddish brown wrapper looks beautiful and is silky to the touch, the classic Davidoff ring is accompanied by a second ring in the same white with golden lettering but with a burgundy detail. Simple yet classy. The construction feels good, but hey, it is a Davidoff and they do know how to roll a well made cigar otherwise they wouldn’t be so famous right? The cigar has a medium strong barnyard aroma, very pleasant. I decided to punch the cigar, which led to a great cold draw with a little raisin and pepper.


I taste a nice espresso with a little pepper. This is much spicier than I expected from an offspring of the classic Davidoff series. After a centimeter I taste wood with a little metallic flavor on the background and a little hint of pepper. After an inch the pepper gets stronger again, the metallic flavor mellows out. After a third the cigar has a nice mixture of wood, pepper and a little bit of that metallic flavor. Slowly the metallic grows stronger and I also taste a tiny hint of dark chocolate. Halfway all of a sudden the flavor turns to nutty with pepper and far far on the background some dark chocolate. After the two thirds mark the main flavor is pepper and the pepper keeps growing with the nuts as a supporting flavor.


The draw is a bit loose, which caused the smoke to start out thin but it got better quickly, thick and white. The ash is white, dense and thick. The burn is pretty sharp, not razor sharp but close enough. This is a medium full cigar, full flavored. This cigar gave me two hours of enjoyment.

Would I buy this cigar again? I might, for a special occasion but the hefty price tag makes it impossible for me to smoke it on a regular basis.

Score: 91

91

Categories: 91, Cigars Davidoff, Davidoff, Dominican cigars | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Padron 1926 #1

If you have read my reviews the past month you may have noticed that all of them, except for the limited edition Cain F Lancero, are all releases from the latest IPCPR or Intertabac trade shows so you might think that I only like to smoke the new stuff, be hip and fast but let me assure you, i’m not. It just happens that I’ve gotten the cigars at Intertabac and put them all aside in one box, my “to review” box. And yes, when I grab something else to review from my collection I often think “what lesser known cigar would my readers like to read?”. So yes, I am a curious human being with a passion for cigars so I love to try new stuff, but I also love the classics and the neo classics. Today, when I noticed the list of new cigars I reviewed and was browsing through my humidor, I realized myself why I started this blog approximately 10 years ago. I was quite new to cigars back then and was trying out all different cigars I could find, just to explore the world of cigars. Little did I know that 10 years later I’m still exploring and only scratched the surface, but that aside. I wrote down weather I liked a cigar or not, but knowing myself and knowing I would lose those notes I decided to store them online for easy access and with automatic backups, and if you do that, why not make them public? But basically I started the blog for myself. So why not smoke a classic, a cigar that you can find many reviews off, and review it for myself? I picked the Padron 1926 #1 Maduro, a 6 3/4×54 Double Corona with a maduro wrapper around Nicaraguan tobacco.


Now Padron, I don’t think they need any introduction. I think that they are the highest rarest Nicaraguan cigar manufacturer, the Nicaraguan Cohiba or Opus X, the flagship of the whole country and the 1926 and 1964, named after the birth year of Padron founder Jose and the year he started Padron Cigars, are the most praised lines with a huge reputation. I have smoked them and always loved them, even reviewed some but never this 1926 #1.


The cigar has an added band, specific ring tells me it was distributed in The Netherlands and is at least a few years old. It’s the Dutch tax band that got replaced by a new system a few years back so the cigar has had a minimum of three years of aging on tip of the minimum of five years the tobacco aged before the tobacco was used for rolling the cigar. It also tells me that back then the cigar had a price tag of 22 euro. The wrapper is dark, rough with some veins and is leathery to the touch. The construction feels good and the cold draw is a bit loose. The band, which are actually two bands, are beautiful, no corners are cut on the quality there and classic classy. A deep and rich barnyard aroma is what I smell from the cigar.


I taste a lot of coffee with red pepper. Soon I also taste a little sugar and the pepper mellows out. After an inch the cigar slowly changed to earthy with a little pepper. After a third I also taste a little citrus acidity while the pepper is just lurking on the aftertaste. During puffing i taste a sugary sweetness. A little before halfway I taste a sweet woody flavor with spice and pepper. Halfway I get the earthy flavor again and the pepper is getting more prominent again.


The draw is a little loose due to a ripped wrapper close to the head of the cigar which got fixed by removing the complete triple cap, that fixed the draw. The smoke is thick, white and there is plenty to go around. The burn is reasonably sharp. The ash is white, dense and firm. This is a full flavored full bodied cigar but with a great body flavor ratio and a nice evolution. The smoke time was around an hour and 40 minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, and I think that every cigar aficionado should have a few of this in his or her humidor.

Score: 91

91

Categories: 91, Cubanica, Nicaraguan cigars, Padron | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Splendid Robusto

A few years ago my friend Kolja introduced me to Jesper Petersen during a dinner hosted by Rocky Patel. At the time I was working for the Dutch Rocky Patel importer/distributer while Jesper is the Danish importer/distributer for a handful of brands including Rocky Patel. He started his distributing business approximately 7 years ago, after doing cigar events in restaurants and bars for a few years. And now Jesper decided to bring his own brand to the market, first in Denmark, then Germany and slowly take over Europe in true viking style.

The brand is named Splendid after his company and there are two vitola’s, a 4.75×54 Robusto Grande and a 5×52 Torpedo. Today I’m smoking the Robusto Grande that Jesper gave me at the Intertabac trade show in Dortmund last september. The sample I got came without a band but on Jesper’s Facebook page I saw pictures of the bands so I could include those in my rating. Jesper told me it took him three years to create this blend of Dominican tobaccos from the Navarette y Mao region and the Cuban seed wrapper from the Los Reyes family to create the smooth medium cubanesque he wanted to introduce to the Danish and European market. The expected retail price of the cigars will be between 9 and 10 euro per stick.


The wrapper looks great, dark and oily without big veins. The head is well rolled and quite flat so this is the perfect cigar to be punched. There is a strong hay aroma coming from the cigar. The construction feels good, no soft spots or plugs, all evenly packed. The cold draw is a little on the loose side and except for a very mild pepper on the tip of my tongue I don’t taste much.


You have read this before but I grabbed my trusted vintage Ronson, older than both me and Jesper and probably still in a better shape, to light this cigar. It’s easy to light the cigar and I taste a very nice and full coffee flavor with a hint of red pepper. After half an inch I taste a dark wood with a little pepper. The cigar gets a little spicier too with walnuts on the background, very mild though.


After a third the walnut flavor is growing stronger, well matched with the equally strong wood and a little pepper. Halfway walnut is the dominant flavor. After two thirds I taste a strong citrus with the nuts, overpowering the nuts a little.


The smoke is thick and luscious and white as can be. The ash is also very light colored and quite firm. The burn is good and the draw is better than during the cold draw. This cigar is medium plus bodied and full flavored. The smoke time was little over 90 minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, this is a very nice smoke

Score: 91

91

Categories: 91, Dominican cigars, Splendid, Tabacalera Palma | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Nicoya Medios Robusto

At the intertabac trade show in Dortmund Germany back in 2015 I met an Australian gentleman by the name of Gerard Hayes while hanging out at the A.J. Fernandez booth and almost a year later I see both names pop up again, this time with Gerard’s name as brand owner of the new brand Nicoya and A.J. Fernandez as his manufacturer. It turned out that Gerard had founded this new brand, and as far as I know the only Australian cigar brand, even though the name Nicoya pays tribute to the Nicaraguan people who use it as slang to refer to their origin although other sources say the word Nicoya refers to the peninsula in Costa Rica that once belonged to Nicaragua and that the Nicaraguan people use the word Nicoya for land and territory that was stolen from them. Now, even though I visited Nicaragua twice and love the country I don’t know enough about the culture, the people and the history to tell which explanation is the right one, so you decide for yourself ok?


Nicoya is quite simple in setup, just two blends, the medium bodied medios (also referred to as Nicoya Red) and the fuerte aka Nicoya Purple and both just in one size, a 5×52 robusto. I met up with Gerard again at his booth at intertabac 2016 and had the pleasure to smoke both cigars. I was looking forward to that since A.J. Fernandez makes some of my favorite cigars and the cigars didn’t disappoint. Luckily Gerard gave me an extra set of cigars so I can do this review. Unfortunately I can’t show pictures of the boxes but they were so classy I wouldn’t mind making a table out of empty Nicoya boxes.


The Nicoya Medios robusto that I’m smoking now for this review is made with an Ecuadorean Habano Rosado wrapper, a Mexican binder and fillers from Jalapa, Esteli, Ometepe and some Dominican Habano 2000. The cigar has a nice, simple yet tasteful band, silver and red and the back of the bands are like wings, which is a nice detail. The wrapper is a little dull, but not in a way I would pass it in a humidor. The veins are thin and the head of the cigar is a bit bumpy. The construction feels good, evenly filled everywhere. The aroma is very pleasant, deep and rich, earthy and like being close to a horse. I punched the cigar, the cold draw is just fine and leaves a spicy flavor on my tongue with some raisin.


I grabbed my vintage Ronson again to light this cigar, my favorite way to light a cigar inside (outside a jet flame is a better choice). Lighting is a breeze, and I taste a nice medium coffee flavor. The coffee is getting stronger with a little citrus. The flavors are quite sharp. After a centimeter i taste wood and a growing citrus.

After a third I also taste some sweetness with the wood and the citrus is almost completely gone. I also taste some mild herbs. The flavors are well balanced. After two thirds I finally taste a little bit of pepper but with a sweetness that makes it very pleasurable combined with the wood.


The ash is white and firm and the draw is flawless. The smoke is reasonably thick and white, I also get a nice amount of smoke from the cigar. The burn is quite straight, not razor sharp but not still not enough to correct. The cigar is medium bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is about an hour and thirty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes! It’s a great stick, Gerard and Abdel hit a homerun.

Score: 91

91

Categories: 91, Nicaraguan cigars, Nicoya, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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